Your Etiquette Guide to a Second Wedding

Get advice on what's proper for a repeat trip down the aisle.

Read on for our guide to encore nuptials.

Photo: Images by Berit, Inc.

As divorce becomes less stigmatized in society, so have second weddings. Gone are the days when an encore bride should feel obligated to have a quick ceremony at city hall if that’s not what the couple wants. Nowadays, the general public accepts that it’s perhaps better to start fresh than languish in an unhappy or even abusive marriage, as well as acknowledges that we should celebrate when a widow or widower finds love again after suffering through such a tragic loss. Old-fashioned standards also fail to take into account that it may still be the first wedding for one half of the couple.

remarrying etiquette guide to second weddings

Photo by Ahava Studios

If your upcoming wedding is the second for either you or your future spouse, you may be wondering if you need to abide by different rules. Read on for our guide to encore nuptials.  

The Engagement
If either you or your beloved have children from a previous relationship, they should be the first to learn of your engagement, as it greatly affects their life. You then can share the happy news with your parents, followed by friends and other relatives. If you share custody with an ex, they should be informed of your impending nuptials for the sake of the children. Otherwise, there’s no need, unless you happen to be on particularly good terms.

Bridal Shower/Registry
Of course, you’re not the one who is deciding to host a bridal shower, but if your sister or close friends really want to host one, it is perfectly acceptable! However, you might want to have a more themed party in terms of gifts, as you presumably already have the kitchenware and home goods that you need. Consider having your friends and family shower you with cookbooks, gardening equipment, or another specific interest.

Bridal Attire
There may be people who tell you not to wear white, but that is nonsense. That said, differently hued gowns are certainly trending, so no one will be shocked by a colorful frock. If you want something more nontraditional, this is an opportunity to embrace your own personal style. But if you still want to wear a classic ball gown ­– whether you did the first time around or not ­– don’t let anyone sway you from wearing what you want. You can even still wear a veil, although a blusher is the one thing typically considered for first-time brides only.

Ceremony and Traditions
Unless your father is uncomfortable with the idea, there is nothing wrong with him walking you down the aisle again. Some women decide to exert their independence and join their new spouse on their own; while others may have their children act as escorts. In remarriages where a bride or groom has kids, it is often a nice gesture to include the children in the proceedings, whether through family vows, a parent-child dance at the reception, or a unique idea of your own. 

For more ideas, fiind out how to involve your child in your ceremony and discover a complete guide to wedding formality. Be sure to read more wedding etiquette tips!